UN needs $3bn for Sudanese after 'cruel' outbreak of war

Nearly half of the Sudanese population are in need of humanitarian and life saving assistance

Smoke rises after an aerial bombardment in Khartoum North. Reuters
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Sudan needs at least $3 billion for life-saving humanitarian aid, the UN said on Wednesday, a month after civil war broke out.

Fighting in the country is escalating in a power struggle between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

It is the body's largest appeal for Sudan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), said.

“The Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan has been revised due to the soaring needs spurred by the current crisis,” it said.

“It now requires $2.56 billion, an increase of $800 million from just a few months ago, to help 18 million people until the end of this year.”

A further $470.4 million is being sought by the Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan to support refugees, returnees and host communities in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan, where more than 220,000 have fled.

The conflict has left over 600 dead with more than 840,000 people internally displaced.

The chief of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, Ramesh Rajasingham, said that nearly 25 million – more than half of the population – are in need of protection and aid.

“This is the highest number we have ever seen in the country,” he said.

The Sudanese army, led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, is fighting the RSF, led by Gen Mohamed Dagalo.

The two generals are former allies who together orchestrated an October 2021 military takeover that derailed a transition to civilian rule following the 2019 removal of longtime leader Omar Al Bashir.

“This conflict is a cruel blow for the people of Sudan, already staggering under the weight of a desperate humanitarian situation. The desire, willingness and impatience of humanitarian agencies to deliver remains as strong as ever,” emergency relief co-ordinator Martin Griffiths said.

Last Friday the country's warring sides agreed to protect civilians and allow the movement of humanitarian aid, but remained far apart on a ceasefire.

After a week of talks in the Saudi port of Jeddah, Sudan's two parties signed a declaration that they would work towards a short-term ceasefire.

“The signing of the declaration of commitment was a welcome first step towards protecting civilians and delivering aid safely,” Mr Griffiths said. “But now we need the generosity of the international community to scale up our response and reach all those in need.”

Updated: May 17, 2023, 11:33 AM